Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Irenaeus Eibl-Eibesfeldt





We bid farewell to our esteemed colleague and dear friend


Irenaeus Eibl-Eibesfeldt
died on 2 June 2018

He started his last journey in the circle of his loved ones, his wife and
his children, whom we heartily wish strength at this time. His
enthusiasm, his open eye and mind will always be remembered, as will
his love for life and his vast joy in everything that lives!



state: 2014        


Curriculum Vitae


born June 15, 1928 in Vienna, Austria

Position:   Prof. emeritus; Member of the Human Science Center (HWZ), Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich; adjunct Prof. of Zoology, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich; until 2014 Head of the Human Ethology Film Archive in the Max Planck Society, Andechs-Erling; until 2008 Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Urban Ethology, Vienna; until his retirement from the professorship in 1996 Head of the Research Unit of Human Ethology of the Max Planck Society

Family status:   married since 1950, two adult children

Citizenship:   Austrian

1945 - 1949

studies of Zoology at the University of Vienna, Promotion Dr. phil. December

1946 - 1948

research associate at the Biological Station Wilhelminenberg near Vienna (Head: Prof. Otto Koenig)

1949 - 1950

research associate of the Institute of Comparative Behavior Studies in Altenberg near Vienna (Head: Prof. Konrad Lorenz)

1951 - 1969

Max Planck Institute of Behavioral Physiology (first at Buldern, Westphalia, from 1957 at Seewiesen, Bavaria)

1953 - 1954

first Xarifa-Expedition with Prof. Hans Hass: Caribbean Sea, Galápagos


Head of the UNESCO expedition to the Galápagos Islands

1957 - 1958

second Xarifa-Expedition with Prof. Hans Hass: Maldives, Nicobares

1957 - 1970

Honorary Scientific Director of the International Institute of Submarine Research in Vaduz, Liechtenstein


guest Professor at the University of Chicago, Department of Psychology


habilitation at the University of Munich


first textbook on Ethology (english ed. 1970)


guest Professor at the University of Minnesota, Institute of Child Development


Professor of Zoology at the University of Munich

1970 - 1996

Head of a Research Group for Human Ethology which became an independent Research Institute for Human Ethology of the Max Planck Society in 1975 (until 1986 in Seewiesen, then in Andechs)


first textbook on human ethology (english ed. 1989)

1985 - 1993

President of the International Society for Human Ethology

Since 1992

Honorary Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Urban Ethology in Vienna

1996 - 2014

as Prof. Emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (Seewiesen and Andechs) continuing his Research as Head of the Human Ethology Film Archive (Andechs)

Since 1997

Ordinary Member of the Human Science Center (HWZ) of the Ludwig Maximilians Universität in Munich

After twenty years of research in Animal Behavior and Marine Biology, in the 1960ies Irenaeus Eibl-Eibesfeldt began with research studies in Human Ethology. Through his studies of expressive behavior of deaf and blind born, and his cross-cultural documentation programme of human behavior, he contributed significantly to establish the discipline of Human Ethology.

During a longterm project in the search for universals in human behavior, he documented in numerous expeditions in longitudinal studies social interaction in everyday life in different cultures, whom he visited regularly, some of them over a period of 30 years or longer: the Yanomami (Waika-Indians Upper Orinoko, South America), Himba (Namibia), Kalahari Bushmen (!Kung, G/wi, !Ko, Botswana), Eipo (West-Irian, New Guinea), Biami (Papua New Guinea), Bali and Trobriand Islanders. The documentation of this ongoing research is housed at the Human Ethology Film Archive in Andechs.


Some Memberships:


1957    Deutsche Zoologische Gesellschaft

1959    Founding member of the Charles Darwin Foundation (since 1962 executive board)

1963    Corresp. member of the Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung (SGN - Research Institute and Natural History Museum)

1972    Founding member of the International Society for Research on Aggression

1972    Founding member of the International Society for Human Ethology (executive board 1978 - 1982; President 1985 - 1991)

1977    Corresp. member of the Academia Leopoldina, Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher

1978    Founding member of the PEN-Club Liechtenstein

1979    Member of the Australian Forensic Society

1980    Founding member of the Konrad-Lorenz-Gesellschaft für Umwelt- und Verhaltenskunde

1983    Program Review Council of the The Jane Goodall Institute for Wildlife, Research, Education & Conservation

1985    corresp. Member of the Namibia Scientific Society

1987    Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences

1990    Founding Member and Prodekan of the European Academy of Arts and Sciences

1990    Member of the advisory board of The Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research in Altenberg

1991    Member of the scientific advisory board of the ÖAMTC Academy

1991 - 2008   Founder and Scientific Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Urban Ethology in Vienna

1993    Head of the advisory board of the Peter and Traudl Engelhorn Foundation

1997    Founding Member of the Humanwissenschaftliches Zentrum (HWZ) of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich

1998    Member of the advisory board of the Heinz Sielmann Foundation

Member of various other scientific organisations and societies such as the Animal Behavior Society (Fellow), Gesellschaft fuer Anthropologie (Society for Anthropology, 1968), Gesellschaft fuer bedrohte Voelker (Society for Threatened Peoples, 1977), Deutsche Liga für das Kind, Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Ethnomedizin (German Society for Medical Anthropology, 1978), Ethologische Gesellschaft (1980), etc.


1971    Goldene Bölsche Medaille der Kosmos Gesellschaft (appreciation of merits for the popularization of his field of science)

1981    Burda-Preis für Kommunikationsforschung (in medias res, Award for communication-research)

1988    Philip Morris Forschungspreis (Philip Morris Research Award)

1989    Goldene Ehrenmedaille der Stadt Wien (Golden Medal of Honor of Vienna, Austria)

1994    "Doctor Honoris Causa" (Philosophy) of University Salamanca, Spain

1995    Großes Verdienstkreuz des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany)

1996    Libellenorden der Nationalpark-Akademie Donau-Auen des naturhistorischen Museums Wien (appreciation of merits for the international nature conservation) for supporting nationalpark projects of international rank especially by initiatve and scientific consulting for Galápagos national park

1996    Schwenk'scher Umweltpreis der Stadt Ebersberg (award for environmental protection)

1997    Haackert-Stiftung Medaille (Haackert Foundation Medal) for excellent achievements in research in human behaviour

1997    Bayerischer Verdienstorden (Bavarian Order of Merit)

1997    Jahrespreis der Stiftung für Abendländische Ethik und Kultur STAB, (Award of the year of the Foundation for Occidental Ethics and Culture), Zurich, Switzerland

1998    Österreichisches Ehrenkreuz für Wissenschaft und Kunst I. Klasse (Austrian Cross of Honour for Science and Art, First Class)

1998    Inge and Werner Grüter-Prize for Scientific Publicity 1998 for his services to Marine Biology and Reef Research

1999    Premio Catedra Santiago Grisolía for his services to the research on Human Ethology and aggressiveness; Centro Reina Sofía, Valencia, Spain

2001    Große Goldene Peutinger Medaille (Great Golden Peutinger Medal)

2001    Ehrenpreis der Heinz-Sielmann-Stiftung (Award of Honour of the Heinz-Sielmann-Foundation)

2003    Goldenes Ehrenzeichen für Verdienste um das Land Wien (Golden Badge of Honor for services to the federal state of Vienna, Austria)

2005    "Doctor Honoris Causa" (Psychology) of the University of Bologna, Italy

2007    Orden Nacional Al Merito de la Republica del Ecuador en Grado de Comendador (Order of merit of the Republic of Ecuador), Quito, Ecuador

2011    Premio Nonino for Lifetime Achievement (Nonino Prize for Literature), Italy


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